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Arriving at the U.S. Port of Entry

Please review the Port of Entry Arrival Information on the USCIS Website.

Important Travel and Port of Entry Documents

Do not check the following documents in your luggage as you will need them at the U.S. Port of Entry:

  • Plane ticket
  • SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019
  • Passport (valid at least six months beyond your program end date);
  • Visa (unless visa exempt)
    • For initial entry in F-1 status only, Customs and Border Protection must be satisfied that the student seeking admission to the U.S. intends to attend the school specified on the student's F-1 visa or for Canadian citizens, that the student intends to attend the school that issued the I-20 being presented at the port-of-entry.
    • For a student who has been in F-1 student status in the U.S., but traveled outside the U.S. for less than five months and has transferred or intends to transfer to a new school upon re-entering the U.S., the name of the new school does not need to be indicated on the visa.
  • U.S. currency for the U.S. I-94 Entry fee
  • U.S. emergency contact information:
    • SUNY-ESF Office of International Education
    • Syracuse University Slutzker Center for International Services
      (315) 443-2457.
  • U.S. currency for additional expenses (taxi, bus, food).

You should also be prepared to present the following documents at the Port of Entry:

  • SEVIS fee receipt (Form I-797);
  • Proof of funding for 1 year (e.g., scholarship or sponsorship letter, bank statements);
  • Proof of student status (e.g., admission letter, tuition receipt).

On the Airplane

Crew members will distribute Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059B) and Arrival Departure Record Forms (I-94). These must be completed prior to arriving in the U.S. On the Form I-94, you should provide the address where you will reside in the U.S., not the address of the school or program. Additional information about obtaining your electronic I-94 card once you are in the U.S. is available here. filling out the I-94 card is available online. A sample I-94 card

with instructions for filling it out can be accessed here.

. Electronic I-94

At the Port of Entry: U.S. VISIT Procedure

After departing the airplane in the U.S., you will pass through a U.S. Immigration Port of Entry inspection. Your passport, visa, I-20 or DS-2019, and other documents will be officially reviewed by a Customs and Border Protection officer.A digital photograph and a biometric scan of your index finger/10 fingers will be taken. You will likely have to answer a few questions and indicate your reason for entering the U.S. (to be a student); you may have to provide proof of admission.

Please be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official has authority to deny admission.

Once your inspection is successfully completed, the Customs and Border Protection should stamp your passport with your date of arrival. The official should also note your non-immigrant status (F-1 or J-1) and D/S (duration of status—how long you are eligible to remain in the U.S.). Please be sure that your documents are marked in this manner. If you notice that they are not, please politely bring this to the attention of the CBP official to see if it would be possible to correct at that time. If not, please bring this to the attention of the Coordinator of International Education when you arrive on-campus and check-in with the Office of International Education.